"Here Comes the Sun" played as High Hotels Ltd. co-workers unveiled a solar panel representing a new solar array that began powering the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster. The lights ceremoniously dimmed at the moment the electric power switched over to 100% renewable energy. About 75 staff, community members, elected officials, and onlookers watched as a new real-time meter located in the hotel lobby displayed the solar power produced by the project.
The celebration marked the completion of a 135,200-square-foot solar installation constructed by the Lancaster-based, family-owned hotel developer, owner, and operator in partnership with Marriott International Inc. Due to its size—more than twice as big as a football field—the 2,700-panel (with an expected service life of 40 years) was placed on the roof of a warehouse about half a mile from the hotel. Doing so, saves more than three acres of open land and has additional aesthetic benefits. Both the hotel and the warehouse are located in Greenfield Corporate Center, a 600-acre master-planned mixed-use business campus with a strong track record of sustainable practices. Greenfield Corporate Center is owned by High Properties.
“Our guests now have the satisfaction of knowing that they are staying in a hotel that’s fully powered by the sun,” said Russ Urban, president of High Hotels. “As a company, we’re strong believers in environmental stewardship, and taking this step into renewables aligns with the interests of a growing segment of the traveling public.”
Urban said that while guests can see the meter display and take pride in choosing this first-solar-powered Marriott, they will notice no difference in the function of electrically-powered amenities at the hotel.
At 133 rooms, the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster is the first Marriott-branded hotel in the United States with 100 percent of its electricity needs generated from solar power. It is also believed to be the first solar array in the country installed for the sole purpose of generating 100 percent of the electricity needs of a hotel.
The solar array produces 1,239,000 kWh of power for the hotel, which consumes 1,177,000 kWh. Excess power is sold to the utility. High Hotels received a grant of $504,900 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) through the Solar Energy Program to complete the project.
Recently the Courtyard Lancaster was refitted with LED lighting, reducing total electricity consumption by about 15 percent. With the lower demand, it’s expected that the solar panels’ generation will well exceed the hotel’s needs, thus putting even more power back in the grid for use by others.
Using an EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the hotel estimates that the solar panel will save 922 metric tons of CO2 emissions which is equivalent of emissions from 197 cars driven for one year, 1,008,846 pounds of coal burned, 99.6 homes’ energy use for one year, or 2,135 barrels of oil.
“We are excited to see High Hotels take the lead in such an impactful manner. The Courtyard Lancaster’s solar array installation is a concrete step forward to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize our impact on the environment,” said Denise Naguib, Vice President of Sustainability & Supplier Diversity for Marriott International. “Working in collaboration with our hotels, owners, guests and associates, we will Sustain Responsible Operations in order to meet the ambitious goals set as part of Marriott International’s sustainability and social impact platform, Serve360, and continue doing good in every direction.”